Creative Clips is a collection of snippets about work in progress, observations, study, inspiration etc as I go along.  It is also a chance for me to thank some of the people who are part of the story so far – PS: Please click inside frames for correct proportions
Window Sprite (Draft)Window Sprite (Draft)

Window Sprite (Draft)

Here is the draft and some background to Window Sprite Finished painting.

I have been wanting to paint a series lauding our Grevillea Firesprite. An Australian native bush plant with spiky foliage producing fiery orange/red whorls that start as green/yellow buds on stems at awkward angles. The Firesprite attracts nectar loving birds to its blossoms and this in turn brings double pleasure to its human admirers.

Apart from its ongoing adornment of our outside space, I often cut stems when the Firesprite is in bloom to bring inside and enjoy right here or share with friends.

The intense white light streaming from the window through the bouquet and the glass vase to the bench gave me the idea for this version.

As the final version was to be on raw linen (which would not allow for re-painting mistakes), I did a test version on cardboard – both to try out the layout and to see how the colours might work on the brown background. The cardboard is a warmer brown than raw linen; which is a grayish brown.

This post is long overdue for Lynda.   The FireSprite reminds me of you.  Fiery and dainty, but thoroughly resilient.  You are full of kindness for your family and friends.  Thank you for your friendship through the years.

Gift from Claire’s Garden (Drafts)Gift from Claire’s Garden (Drafts)

Gift from Claire’s Garden (Drafts)

Here are the draft versions of the two Gift from Claire’s Garden paintings and some background. Finished versions here (Winter) and here (Spring)

Produce from a friend’s garden is a joy to receive and so it was with Claire’s visit. The tiny bud of an old rose found in her new garden and identified with the help of one of my books as ‘Angel Face’.  Together with sprigs of white blossom from an unnamed bush twisted into a delicate bouquet with kitchen foil.

I placed them into a simple white vase from a long ago work friend (Kay) and onto a bookshelf where they could delight me each day. A circular pleasure is friendship.

Some months later Claire called to tell me that a woman we’d each met through her charity work had died unexpectedly. Such shock and sadness I was surprised to feel so strongly, as I barely knew her – I simply admired her attempts to do ‘the right thing’ for others’.

So I started with paper and watercolour media, working through what eventually became the Winter version of ‘Gift from Claire’s Garden’. By the time I’d finished, I was ready to do Spring; because Rose was such a rambunctious, colourful person and what could I do but celebrate her existence in our transient world.

Gift from Claires Garden (Spring)_Draft

This post is for Rose Kefford. Champion of the underdog – both canine and human. You made a difference in the world while you were here and continue to provide inspiration now that you’re not.

Gift of Naomi (Detail)Gift of Naomi (Detail)

Gift of Naomi (Detail)

Gift of Naomi is a small mixed media work commissioned as a gift to three lecturers who helped Naomi bring her PHD thesis to fruition.

After creating a number of concepts around the thesis, I changed tack completely when I was enjoying browsing the photos taken (by Geoff Simmonds) of her graduation celebration at Pikitu Marae (sacred Maori tribal home).

Goosebumps came when I saw her in the ceremonial cloak, with her daughter at her side, being given the traditional welcome at the Marae.

This then was what it was all about.  The lecturers would see the honour and inspiration Naomi has brought to her family and to women with Maori heritage for all time.

There are many symbolic elements to this work and I mention only one here.  I painted the canvas sides to resemble woven flax, as there were three strands to the thesis and weaving is such an integral part of traditional life.

This post is of course dedicated to Naomi and Anahera.  Such determination and concern for the welfare of all women I see coming down the line from your mother; manifested with your own unique vision and personalities.


Silvery Belle (Going to the Coast – Detail)Silvery Belle (Going to the Coast – Detail)

Silvery Belle (Going to the Coast – Detail)

Some detail and background to Silvery Belle. Complete painting.

Silvery Belle (Going to the Coast – Detail) above is part of the third large abstract celebrating going to the coast at the weekend.  Enticing and tactile, you are looking up as you approach (per the other two).

Final layers are iridescent silver; with subtle brushes of opalescent violet-green which only become apparent in certain light.

This post is for you Ann.  An epic friendship enduring waves of change and movement.  Though you refute it, you are beautiful from every angle.

Going to the Coast (Waterfalls and Ocean – Detail)Going to the Coast (Waterfalls and Ocean – Detail)

Going to the Coast (Waterfalls and Ocean – Detail)

Here is a detail and some background to Waterfalls and Ocean. Complete painting.

Weekday pinstripes and manicured lawns give way to weekend gelato chances for verdant exploration.  Waterways and waterfalls with sunrise/sunset glints and the swish and swells of the ocean surround us.  Yes we’re going to the coast for the weekend!

This detail is from the second large painting in the series; evoking the celebratory feelings we have towards the weekends and awash in metaphors and movement.

To Marie and Jenny from the Isle the colour of which I have tried to portray – devoted Mums both – keeping the flow of family life around you.  I admire you both so much.

Going to the Coast (Night – Detail)Going to the Coast (Night – Detail)

Going to the Coast (Night – Detail)

This highlights a detail and gives some background to Going to the Coast (Night). Complete Painting.

Friday night frazzled from work.  From weekday skyscrapers and major motorways through busy traffic in all directions out into the velvet night of silhouetted scenery – hazy hills and waterways of the hinterland turning cars into stars.

Or straight to the bustling boardwalks and beaches beyond from different directions on curvy, darker secondary roads.  Yes we’re going up the coast for the weekend!

NB:  This big painting (detail above) was done in a few shades of the Munsell Grey Scale, with tiny touches of iridescent silver.

Here’s a shout out to you Paul N.  Always the consummate professional at work.  The exclamations of appreciation and envy generated by your Friday afternoon “Going up the Sunny Coast this weekend” gave me the title and essence of the feelings (no matter the location) that I hope this abstract will engender.


Master of Mayhem (Draft)Master of Mayhem (Draft)

Master of Mayhem (Draft)

This is the draft version of Master of Mayhem along with some background to the story. Finished Painting

I’ve now made a start on celebrating the life of our cat Jaspar; who appointed us his guardians for the best part of 19 years.  He will be pleased and in fact will expect that his first portrait is four times the size of that of his second dog…

The words that go with this painting are: “This is my mat.  This doorway also.  When you are quite comfortable and have started eating, I will make my move…”

For the finished painting, I used thin washes of four transparent colours (no black or white), then scraped back and reapplied pale washes for highlights.

The draft version of Master of Mayhem you see here helped me to check composition and colour effects – with watercolour on paper giving a softer look than the final version.

This post is dedicated to Malina – who patiently endured years of allergy treatments in order to join the ranks of Cat Servants.  Lovely to know you all this time.

King Solomon’s Hat and the Giant’s Gumboots (Detail)King Solomon’s Hat and the Giant’s Gumboots (Detail)

King Solomon’s Hat and the Giant’s Gumboots (Detail)

Here is a detail and some background to King Solomon’s Hat and the Giant’s Gumboots. Full painting.

The squabble over the pale blue, basketball-sized hollow plastic ball ended in tears when she shouted “If you can’t share, I’ll cut the ball in half!!”  Never one to make an idle threat, she promptly divided it with the bread knife …

Resourcefully he used his half of the doomed ball as a hat.  You see him thus garbed and wrong-footed in adult gumboots – his own wee gumboots abandoned in the background.

This one is for Colleen – the heart of your family.  How you do it all I don’t know.  Best of luck with your new business as a Personal Trainer.

PS:  I chose the colours for this painting, then started the underpainting with tinted charcoal and a very dilute mix of Burnt Umber – as this was in the palette and made sense as a base.  After a while, I realised I really liked just the single colour over the primed canvas – showing stark sunlight and deep shadows.  It also gave the painting a fitting feeling of ‘olden days’.

Old-Dog DanceOld-Dog Dance

Old-Dog Dance

2013. Watercolour blocks/pencils on Watercolour paper. 27cm high x 19.5cm wide

Merlin was the size of a small, shaggy pony, but only big on the outside.  His coat was half grown out from a shaving and because he couldn’t stand the shaver on his legs, the hair on them looked like it had been cut with a knife and fork.

He was always up for a game – even when he could hardly walk – you see him braced for action, swinging his lovely ears around.

This post is for Gwen.  For 90 years bravely standing up for the rights of mistreated animals.  You have more guts than most of us and the world is a better place for your contribution.


Seed Series II – Summer Fruit paintingsSeed Series II – Summer Fruit paintings

Seed Series II – Summer Fruit paintings

The Minutiae Exhibition at Rosebed Gallery re-opened after Christmas, so I delivered these replacement paintings to the Gallery.  Same Montville bowl, but imaginary colours for each.  You see them gathered together here.

This Post is for Jo.  I didn’t forget your birthday!  Sorry I didn’t say so before – many happy returns once more.  The pink I used for the pineapple bowl reminds me of you and how you show a soft face to the world while your powerhouse energy and brain keep the many people who depend on you in motion.

Seed Series I – FruitSeed Series I – Fruit

Seed Series I – Fruit

I’ve just completed six small paintings (acrylic on canvas)  for the ‘Minutiae’ theme group exhibition starting December 4th, 2013 at Rosebed Gallery, Eudlo.

It was a pleasure to combine elements of my daily life and history – both my own and of this beautiful part of the world.  I chose to contribute seeds, as I love these quiet achievers.  Overlooked minutiae of our daily life, yet essential to our survival.  This links to me personally with my father’s training as a Seedsman, his father’s life’s work as an Estate Gardener, his father before him and so on.

Great Grandfather!

Great Grandfather in the Greenhouse

To complete the picture so to speak I used the violet-blue bowls I bought from Montville Pottery many years ago.  A vivid fragment of the past and present.  So I bring you six bowls of produce from the orchard.  Some seeds are so small, they are sterile and some large enough to knock you out!

This post is for you Robert – it is in the genes.

Women Walking with WomenWomen Walking with Women

Women Walking with Women

I’m proud to say I’ve collaborated with Linley on another professional project.  The Women Walking with Women logo is for her work with Physiotherapy colleagues and students.

I’ve represented Women of all shapes and sizes in a flower of inspiration made from Ws.  The logo is also used in parts of her website http://www.pelvichealthphysio.co.nz/

This post is dedicated to Linley Edmeades; passionate in her professional role of helping people be the best they can be through physiotherapy.


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